12:15 pm: David O. Russell‘s American Hustle has won the Best Picture award from the New York Film Critics Circle. I wouldn’t have called this — it’s quite a surprise. 12 Years A Slave was obviously a contender but…well, we can guess what happened and why. I can’t wait to hear the backstory. How strong was Scorsese’s Wolf of Wall Street? How staunch was the resistance to it? A voice is still telling me that Hustle won partly due to an “anything but 12 Years A Slave because it’s too punishing to sit through” sentiment. I don’t know anything, haven’t been told this. Hustle is a very good film. I’m just talking about insect antennae vibrations.
11:29 am: Robert Redford, HE’s personal favorite, has won the NYFCC’s Best Actor award for his performance in All Is Lost. Okay, now he’s rock solid with the Academy. He’s not going to get bumped. An Academy guy told me last night he thinks Wolf of Wall Street‘s Leonardo DiCaprio might not push his way in after all…what?
10:53 am: The generic, across-the-board default choice for Best Actress — Blue Jasmine‘s Cate Blanchett — has prevailed among NYFCC members. Congrats to Cate, and a respectful salute to her (and Woody Allen‘s) decision to perform that third-act scene with unmissable underarm perspiration stains. Earlier: I’m going to lose it if the NYFCC “softie” contingent pushes through a Best Actress won for Philomena‘s Judi Dench.
10:46 am: Twitter outrage about N’yongo snub + white guilt kicks in among New York Film Critics Circle, and the beneficiary is 12 Years A Slave helmer Steve McQueen winning for Best Director. Fine, approved — they got this one right. Obviously this indicates a 12 Years A Slave Best Picture win but…
10:17 am: American Hustle‘s Jennifer Lawrence takes the Best Supporting Actress award. No strong argument against this but I was expecting 12 Years A Slave‘s Lupita N’yongo to win. There is clearly a level of anti-Slave sentiment poking through here. Again — no dispute with Lawrence winning, but the soul and ache and gravitas delivered by N’yongo is undeniable. I for one would have voted and lobbied for her.
9:51 am: What about handing out a Special Best Bluray Aspect-Ratio Influence Award to Woody Allen for strongly endorsing the “boxy” 1.37:1 version of George Stevens‘ Shane while opposing the reviled (and so far unseen) 1.66 version? With perhaps…you know, a slight nod to Hollywood Elsewhere at the bottom of the page for asking Allen to step into the discussion?
9:46 am: NYFCC’s Best Foreign Language Film award goes to Blue is the Warmest Color — heartily approved.
9:33 am: NY Post critic Lou Lumenick, apparently concerned thus far with NYFCC’s seeming reluctance to embrace 12 Years A Slave, tweets that “as NYFCC membership expands, consensus choices” — i.e., giving the Best Picture award to The Artist in 2011 — “are dominating.”
9:21 am: Dallas Buyer’s Club‘s Jared Leto has won for Best Supporting Actor — congrats! I would’ve figured this or Wolf of Wall Street‘s Jonah Hill. Does this and the Best Screenplay award going to American Hustle indicate Best Picture resistance to The Wolf of Wall Street? Feels that way.
9:17 am: Eric Singer and David O. Russell‘s screenplay for American Hustle hgs won the NYFCC’s Best Screenplay award. (I wouldn’t have predicted this — reactions to Hustle have been very respectful and approving but not through the roof.) Legendary documentarian documentarian Frederick Wiseman (whose most recent film is At Berkeley) was handed the NYFCC’s version of a Lifetime Achievement Award. The Wind Rises has won for Best Animated Film.
9:05 am: I overslept again. 8:45 am Pacific. Asian jet lag. My first groggy thought was how far along was the New York Film Critics Circle, which began deliberating around 7 am (10 am Eastern). Answer: Three categories — not very far. Sarah Polley‘s Stories We Tell has won for Best Non-Fiction Film (i.e., Best Documentary)….fine. Fruitvale Station‘s Ryan Coogler has won the Best First Film prize…yes. And a very enthusiastic endorsement for the NYFCC handing the Best Cinematography awaed to Inside Llewyn Davis‘s Bruno Delbonnel. Celebrating those exquisite desaturated capturings — swamps of time, hazy, grayish tint — is the right call.